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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  September 7, 2010 8:00pm-11:00pm EDT

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seminar on health care fraud prevention. begin to watch it on c-span and 90 p.m. eastern. >> in a few moments, and news conference on the u.s. attitudes towards muslims protocol in an hour, the state department briefing that included questions on plans to burn copies of the qur'an. -- poor run -- koran. . .
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>> we meet today to discuss what we consider to be an alarming trend and a rise in the bigotry in this country. it is the time that challenges americans to decide whether we are going to live up to our values, the values of religious freedom and tolerance that has been the hallmark of american society for so long. i feel very privileged and honored to have such distinguished faith leaders com heree today -- come
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today to assert their belief in the importance of filling the american promise and these principles. i am particularly grateful to my jewish colleagues who are very busy, entering a time of jewish holy days and have many things to do in preparation for that. i am very grateful for them, in particular, for joining us today. let me just say a few brief words about the climate that we find ourselves in today. i understand that there is a great deal of misunderstanding about islam and about muslims in this country, and i do not blame ordinary americans who are very busy and do not have a lot of information for feeling confused and anxious tariff it is our job to help provide them with better information about what muslims believe and what islam is pair.
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what i find alarming is the fact that there are some people who are using that lack of knowledge and that anxiety for ideological purposes, either because politically or religiously they simply do not like muslims, and they are fomenting dislike and hatred against muslims in this country. having spoken to many families across the country over the last few weeks, i have heard many muslim-americans say they have never felt this anxious or this insecure in america since directly after 9/11. they are nervous about their children as they head back to school this week, that when they go to school they will face people who are looking at them as aliens, when, they in fact,
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our citizens born in this country. they are afraid of going out in public. there have been a number of incidents of harassment of ordinary people going about doing their or -- daily business. that is not something we want to see grow and continue. freedom of religion is, as i say, all hallmark of this country. lawsuit immigrated to the united states, many of them came here -- muslims who immigrated to the united states, many of them came here because of religious persecution. we know what it means to live in an environment where that freedom is taken away, and that is why, as american muslims, we have been very assiduous in that last number of years working with our colleagues to make sure that we use the freedom that we have in this country to also promotes religious freedom and
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liberty as a principal of islam. it is why we have signed to a common word document and engaged in that as a principle of religious freedom, respect, and dresses -- reciprocity between christians and muslims. it is why we have engaged with our jewish colleagues and education of our conversation about each other's face so that there is not distortion of what jews are and what judea's and is on the part of muslims. this is something that we are committed to. we want to make sure we're able to continue to fulfil this role which is unique in the world. american muslims have a unique ability to be this bridge and showed the muslims to do not live in this kind of freedom that an open, pluralistic atmosphere where there are diverse religions living together can really be good for
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everyone. >> with that introduction, i would like to introduce my colleague, rabbi david saperstein to say a few words. >> i note michael kamen, the national secretary of the united council of churches of christ. we're very honored to have posted this with the islamic - co-hosted this with the islam society of north american. for thend thmem extraordinary work they have done in putting this together. for those of us who are jews who are part of this undertaking, jewish leaders who are here or those who could not be because of the proximity of the holiday but were part of the preparation for this, we could be nowhere
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else. we have been the quintessential victims of religious persecution and discrimination throughout history. we know what it is like when people have attacked as a verbally, attacked as physically, and others have remained silent. it cannot happen here in america. without the response of the religious community. we speak out because we know that hate speech are not mere acts of disreputable talk of murder or assaults or arsons or derisive conversations or desecrations, they are attacks on the pillars on the republic and the guarantors of our freedom. such actions are patrolled the promise of america. the road our national well- being. those who commit those crimes do
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those of fully intending to pull apart -- the too-often -frayed threads of diversity that should bind us together and makes us strong. these people seek to divide and conquer. they do damage to america across the globe. they do damage to us internally. they seek to tear us apart, fomenting violence, civil discord, and we stand here to say that is not who we are as americans and as religious leaders, that is not what we are about. it is not what our religions are about and it is not what this nation is about. released a statement on behalf of all of us who are gathered here. there represents the commitments of religious leaders throughout america. i believe you have copies or if
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you do not yet, they are available on the way out. it was a powerful experience shaping this statement. we came into focus on core issues of religious liberty and realize as we talked about this moment that dr. ingrid mattson has urgently described, that we have to speak more directly to bigotry that isim going on across america, and reshaping the statement was focused on that. i will call on two of our distinguished members of a group, dr. gerald -- the pastor of providence missionary baptist church in inland, georgia, and a well-known figure going back to the early days of the civil-rights movement in the united states and rabbi nancy kreimer, professors specializes
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in intergroup relations at the rabbinical college. it is my pleasure to call on them now to read it three brief excerpts from the statement. >> thank you very much. what an honor and privilege is for me, having stood on the mall 47 years ago under similar circumstances, where we were talking about liberty and justice for all. the statement that we worked together collectively reitz religious: leaders called for respect for america's tradition of religious liberty. as religious leaders in this country we have come together in our nation's capital to denounce categorically the direction, misinformation, and outright bigotry being directed against america's muslim community.
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we bear as sacred responsibility to honor america's faith traditions and to promote a culture of mutual respect, the assurance of religious freedom for all. in advance of the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of september 11, 2001, we announced a new era of interfaith cooperation. >> thank you. we are profoundly distressed and deeply saddened by the incidence of violence committed against muslims in our communities, and by the desecration of islamic houses of worship. we stand by the principle that to attack any religion in united states is to do violence to their religious freedom of all americans. the threatened burning of copies of the holy quran this
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saturday is a particularly egregious offense that demands the strongest possible condemnation. as religious leaders, we are appalled by such disrespect for a sacred text that for centuries has shaped many of the great cultures of our world and that continues to give spiritual comfort to more than 1 billion muslims today. >> we are convinced that spiritual leaders representing the very face in the united states have a moral obligation to stand together and announce categorical aid derision, misinformation, or outright bigotry directed against any religious group in this country. silence, silence is not an option.
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and only by taking this stand can spiritual leaders fulfill the highest calling of our respective statfaiths and help create a safer and stronger america for all of our people. >> thank you so much. now i would like to call up the reverend cardinal theodore mccarren, the archbishop emeritus of washington. we were together last enrollment where we both signed the documents -- last in rome where we both signed a document after deciding to meet to discuss the common word document, and which we supported freedom for international minorities everywhere in the world. i was honored to be with him there for that week in rome and also to be here today.
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>> thank you. i am honored to be here. i am really representing archbishop gregory, who is the archbishop of atlanta, the chairman of the catholic bishops' conference on interfaith relations. so i am delighted that i have a chance to be with you. i say to my brothers, i was there 47 years ago, too, when dr. martin luther king spoke so beautifully. that is one of the memories you cannot forget. it was such a powerful moment in the history of our country. this is a moment that calls for a powerful response. i think that is what my brothers and sisters here have been doing, to give ea prayerful, firm, and customer response. why are we doing this? for two reasons. we are doing it because we have to do it. we do not have a choice. i think that document that was read about talking about
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responsibility of religious leaders is the document that tells the story. religious leaders cannot stand by in silence when things like this are happening, affecting so many good, wonderful people around our country who have brought islam to these shores and are playing a constructive role in our society. we have to reach out to them and say, look, we are happy you are here. we love you, and we understand that bearing false witness against your neighbor is against the quran, the bible, the gospels. we have to be here. i think there is another reason. i have a great fear that the story of bigotry, hatred, animosity towards others is going to be taken by some to be the story of the real america, and it is not. this is not america. this is not our country.
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we need to make sure that our country is known around the country as a ploy -- around the world as a place where liberty of religion, respect for your neighbor, where these things are the most prominent in our society. america was not built on hatred. america was built on love. if we get away from it, tried to give that message out to the world, it is the wrong message. our message is a message of working together, taking care of the person who needs help and making sure that we tried to live, everybody together in a good and holy life. that is what america is. that is what the message is that i pray we will get out all the people of the world so that we will -- they will know who we are and try to be. it is a joy for me and a great privilege to be here. thank you. >> thank you. next we'll here from reverend richard cizik, president of the
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new evangelical partnership for the common good, a visionary leader. >> thank you for inviting me, ingrid. cardinal mccarren, and my distinguished colleagues. we represent one of the largest constituency is that america has, that is the religious constituency with all of its breadth, from roman catholic, to mainland protestant, muslim, orthodox, we are all here together to say what has been said, namely, that we are governed in this country by the constitution whose first amendment guarantees the free exercise of religion. and governments at every level have understood they have to respect that right, from the largest cities of our nation to the smallest.
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protection of religious liberty is what evangelical christians and most of all have come to appreciate. it is the one practice, i think that is a most exceptional about america. by the way, millions have come here through the centuries because of it, including millions of evangelical christians. now we know that the controversy is not that began -- part 51, has become exhibit "a" in this contest between popular passion and constitutional principle. but that contest has moved into the smallest of communities around america. and i am here to say on behalf of the evangelicals consistency that those mainly conservative christians who responded to
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their muslim brothers and sisters, their fellow americans, with anti-muslim bigotry or hatred, they are openly rejecting the first amendment principles of religious liberty, which we as even juliet: christians benefit daily. and to those it wouldwho would exercise derision, open rejection of americans for their religious faith, i say, shame on you. as an evangelical, i say to those who do this, i say you bring dishonor to the name of jesus christ, you directly disobey his commandments to love our neighbor, you violate the command not to bear false
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witness and not least of all you drive the watching world further away from any interest in our gospel message. let me say one more thing. watch out for so casually trampling on the religious liberty of others. you may be able to do that when you are the majority, but if you undermine liberty for other youre's children today, own children may one day see their religious liberties deprived from them. and the principles that protect muslims today here in this country will protect christians, jews, and others tomorrow. and that is what makes this a great country. thank you for being here.
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>> see why so much, reverend. now we would like to hear from dr. michael kenneman, the general secretary of the national council of churches. >> thank you. i am the general secretary of the national council, but i am pleased to say that behind me this afternoon our representatives of a number of our member churches. the national council is an umbrella group comprised of 36 of the major denominations in this country, and behind me are leaders in the greek orthodox, armenian orthodox, episcopal, methodists, lutherans, baptist, and other communions, and together we want to say as strongly as we possibly can that
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we identify ourselves with the statement, excerpts of which you just heard, that we denounce the kinds of bigotry we see across the country in certain parts of the country at this moment and we identified ourselves strongly with the call for religious tolerance and acceptance. we believe at the national council of churches that the diversity of this country strengthens our faith, that we are made deeper and richer and our own commitment by virtue of the relationships we have with the muslim and jewish communities and it is an honor to be with those colleagues at this meeting today. . at this meeting, we, as you heard, adopted a statement which we present to you that we hope will be read across the country, perhaps in congregations and mosques and synagogues. we also talked about next steps we can take as communities of faith to carry this word even
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further beyond these walls and these organizations we talked, for example, about calling on our networks, our constituencies to replicate this kind of meeting in local settings across the country so that what happens now in washington at a national level will happen, also, in targeted cities. we talked about how we might do that using our own media networks and also, thanks to you. we believe that, for example, that the national council of churches has made an nationals statement that calls for acceptance of muslim neighbors and have spoken out as strongly as we can about the issues you've heard today. but we have also called on state councils of churches, including for example in florida, to initiate activities in their own communities that will say no to this kind of bigotry. we are getting a response already. we hope that will continue.
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that was part of the meeting today. not simply to stop with the statement, although it response at the moment and must be heard, but also to carry the word of education and hope into the future by calling on local communities, our own networks, to replicate it. i want to say one other word. you've heard this from reverend cizik. christians in the west have often been responsible for the kind of and tolerant rhetoric we now hear from various places in this country-- intolerant rhetoric we now hear from various places in the country. it is important for us to say is a christian community to say no, that is not who we are. that means to speak out on behalf of islam as a piece- loving and peace-teaching faith and say these are, indeed, our
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brothers and sisters. at the national council, we also know there are minority christian communities around the world now that also feel themselves to be threatened by extremist voices in situations that are predominantly muslim, because extremists in those settings may use the rhetoric in this country as a pretext. so it also in christian self interest to speak out strongly no a word of tolerance, knowing that are muslim colleagues and other places are doing the same on behalf of minority christian communities there. we live in an interdependent world. it is important that we speak is word of hospitality together. thank you. >> we will take questions and answers in a one minute. let me say quickly, following on the reverend kenneman's point,
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for the last nine years muslim- americans have been trying to get the message out that we reject the extremist, muslim extremist view of islam, the justification for violence and militancy. has been very difficult for people to hear that message because the actions and statements of the extremists are more dramatic and they get more attention. we have had our friends in the christian community and in the jewish committee consistently support us in saying, these are mainstream muslims. the majority of muslims we know are law abiding, ethical, good people. i just want to say for whatever international audience there might be, for any muslims and other parts of the world that are listening, yes, you may have heard some of the loud voices of some christian extremists and others in this country who are, who hate islam, who are making
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very hurtful statements, but they did not represent america. they do not represent christianity or judaism. these people who are here with us today represent the true values and views of the vast majority of american jews and christians and american citizens. so do not use these incidents as hateful as they are, as hurtful as they are, to justify any kind of hatred against america or christians -- american christians or jews. with that, i would open the floor for some questions third >> if i could ask -- >> could you identify yourself? >> abc 7 news. >> hi. [inaudible] i was wondering if anybody else could speak to other next steps and a little bit about what happened at this meeting.
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how many of you were there? how long to come up with this statement? thank you. >> in terms of next steps, my name is reverend richard killmer, the executive director of the national religious campaign against torture. we have been concerned since our founding in 2006 that the victims of u.s.-sponsored torture have been muslims. one of the neck steps that have been discussed is a possibility of another meeting like this one but much larger, with people of various faiths across the country coming together and talk about what are the real strategies we need to do together to end this anti- muslim bigotry, because it is
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the people in the pews who have the potential for having the most power or have the potential for bringing about the kinds of changes we want to. to bring these folks together, four months perhaps, to hold hands, to figure out what strategies we need now to make sure that this blight on spirit and soul dissipate. >> scott from -- got it now? >> the other way. >> it's on. i'll be loud. courtnall, if you might, so much of the past 24 hours -- cardinal, has been what has been planned in florida with the burning of the quran, and the response we heard from general petraeus that he indicated that
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it could perhaps put military overseas in harm's way, were this video to go worldwide, as the most likely would. what is your concern about the potential danger to our men and women overseas as a result, and what does this say about interfaith relations right now? >> that was one of the reasons i said we need to get the right message out. we need to get the message out that this is not a country where these things happened by the majority of people. these are acts of very small, extremist people, who feel they are doing the right thing, i am sure, but have taken themselves out totally from the mainstream of what is kristin eddy or what christianity, judaism, or islam. america?t is the real this is not the real america.
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never has ben and it never should be. one of the things we do in this document is we say, this is what we believe is the real america. it is a place where religions are respected. you attack one religion, you attack them all. this is true. we are all believers, or people who do not believe in anything, they have the right -- we are not happy with them -- but they have the right to exist and not be attacked by others. so this is the first point, that basically, we want to get the message out to people all around the world that the real america is a country that is open, that is guaranteeing freedom of religion and everything else that you need to live a good life. with regards to what the general said, if he's correct, then we are really in trouble, because if somebody does something like this, it will create all kinds of problems all over the world.
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and i think we must be aware of that. and some of our own people will be hurt by this. they will -- it will not be their fault, but they happen to the americans, christians, jews. there is another reason why we should say to these people, be careful what you do, does -- not just because it is the wrong thing to do, but because you can do more harm to your fellow americans in dangerous areas around the world. >> in response to the last two questions, one of the things we did at the table is to identify best practices going on in our local communities, what are we doing to promote interfaith relations in various places? one shared with us how muslim- jewish-christian leaders have taken trips overseas together and developed a statement of principles to guide their actions. part of the problem is we have not shared these things widely enough, we assumed that if we do
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it locally, that is enough. now we are realizing that we need to be able to share these with one another, that the word about interfaith relations, tolerance, dialogue, will be lifted up as the dominant voice and not hidden, as we have done in the past. >> one more quick word about the question of a florida. not a surprise behind-the-scenes there was a lot of discussion going on to try to persuade the people organizing this to abandon the idea, and if it fails, all across the country there are coalitions that will be out protesting for mutual respect and diversity and religious freedom and liberty here in america. a lot depends on you. it is certainly a valid news story, it's a sacred book is burned. but it is also of valley news story when good people of conscience representing -- a valid news story when good people of conscience
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representing could americans say it has no place in american life. if you accurately it betray that in a balanced way that shows, sides, it will be a constructive step towards lifting up the truth in terms of what america is and where the religious communities of america are turni. >> fox news. cardinal, are you planning to speak to the pastor personally on this issue? >> i do not know the gentleman. i am open to do that. probably would be better if someone from his own religious community spoke to him, because he probably will feel that i have a different faith or a different point of view on things. be happy to do it, but some of my friends from the evangelical community who are equally troubled as i am, that might be the answer. i am not trying to put it on
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someone else, but it seems to be that is the road to travel. if he were a catholic pastor, i would be happy to talk to him right away. >> peace to everybody. i am the president of african- paris inheritage. my question goes to the scholards and teachers. as a teacher by profession, i see you have a challenge. most of it as to do with this horrible action of burning the quran. helpre you going oto our students in school, they have so many challenges --
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issues like students are attacked by fellow students. what programs have we put in place to address this, especially in public schools? to what occurred >> we did talk -- so the question is about students, i think you mean muslim students who are finding themselves stressed and anxious because of all of this negative information and attacks on muslims and islam. there have been a number of studies that have showed that american muslim children have highly increased levels of anxiety, depression. there are scientific studies of this. i'm sure this will increase it. part of the message to the general public is we would like teachers, counselors, a health care workers and others to interact with muslim children
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who are in the vast majority in public schools, to be mindful of fat and to try to se -- mindful help on and try to seek ehlp o how to manage the tensions that may arise in the class as well as to help the children. this is a pastoral issue, a mental health issue, it is, of course, those in counter- terrorism would say it is a security issue, because he did not want the majority of the muslim youth to be alienated from muslim society. to direct this to the muslims around the world, again, the issue of the quran burning, yes, it's hurtful. it is a symbolic act that is intended to hurt and defend, and
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especially during this holy month of ramadan, muslims know that the quran will not disappear with the burning of a book. it would not disappear with the burning of all the qurans in the world because millions of muslims have memorized the quran. they live it every day. the referred to as their source of ethics and compassion. we as muslims also need to take a step back and, although we feel hurt and upset, and although we are alarmed by what this might mean, because of the book burning in history does not have a very good president for the rights of people whose books are burned. a lot of terrible things have happened after a our earnings. it is alarming. our community should feel confident that, in god's word is eternal and will not be harmed by fire. >> talking points memo.
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>> i am welton gaddy, president of the interfaith alliance. i want to be very specific in responding to what we can teach that will help our children. one, hate is neither a religious ignore the democratic democratic value. two, difference -- is a moral category that we can benefit from. thirdly, for americans, the first amendment of the constitution is the best friend their religion has in this nation because it lets religions thrive without establishing one religion over another. if we could inculcate those three lessons in a
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curriculum, to respond to your question, we would make tremendous progress. >> next question? who has the mike? >> talking points memo. i want to get a sense of what you think -- how you gauge the government's reaction to this, at the white house level and also at the justice department? how would you gauge their reaction to any crimes hate cris that have gone on? >> go ahead. >> later this afternoon, some of us will meet with the attorney general. i think many of you know about this already. it comes from an earlier meeting that reverend gaddy and i were pleased to participate in in which we met with the staff over the justice department to talk about this crucial moment, the
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need for there to be a visible response by the government. doing a lot of of very effective things, they are prosecuting hate crimes, they are acting with their community service division to work together to help reconcile different groups and to defuse the kinds of problems that have arisen during the housing division, the pursuit of religious land-use -- that almost everyone here helped write and get through congress 10 years ago. to ensure their religious houses of worship are able to be billed for their believer is a need them to be built. -- be built where believers and need them to be built. it is not being felt enough. there is a need for more
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vigorous action right now by the government. so, at the attorney general's request, we will meet with the attorney general later today trying to work out what is the most effective way for us to parallel our actions and statements and activity is over the next momentous week to try to live up the clear image that this is no place in american life. >> a quick comment from jim zoby. gby. >> i think the administration's handling of this has been a corporate, and i am pleased that the attorney general will be with us later in the day. as our statement notes, some political figures have attempted to make this a wedge issue in this election. while individuals in the congress, senator durbin and mayor bloomberg have made extraordinary statements, many other political leaders and
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people running for office in this year's election have been disgraceful and have fuleeled this fire and done grave damage to the electorate. it has become a political issue. it should not become that kind of issue. i think we need to speak out against that. >> just to add, this morning, to talk to the administration, we had one of the persons representing the administration it with us at the neighborhood planning and the white house initiative on faith based initiatives. all this information has been ferried to the white house so they can have a deeper appreciation of the breadtho of this. >> next question? >> do you think there has been a
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robust enough pushed back or debunking of a lot of the propaganda that perhaps has laid the groundwork for this reaction we are seeing now? i am thinking of movies like " obsession," "relentless,"which americans have seen it and take as truth and would make them receptive to the messages they are hearing now. do you think their has been end of a push back against that and push back about what isalam is really about. >> this is a great question about the response of educators are religious leaders to the distortions about islam. the reality is that there are very well-funded initiatives to spread misinformation about islam. it is on the internet. there are these movies. they take a lot of resources. there are people who are finding
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these initiatives and these projects. for the missile community, we are finding ourselves also a stretched. muslim community, we are finding ourselves outstretched. we are young community. we are still trying to build mosques. what about schools, outreach? to be able to make movies? to have hundreds or dozens of people on the internet making sure that in a global search something accurate comes up about islam. we do not have the resources. we have been focused, also, to countering extremist messages. the last two years and then a lot of questioning of the american desert muslim community, what are you doing about extremists messages on the internet? what about these people trying to lure american muslims into
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extremist ideology? this is not our area of expertise. we are trying to figure out how to even organize our web pages so that something good comes up when someone goes on and googles islam or jihad. we are stretched. we have not been able to offer a robust response, because we do not have the resources. it should not be only our responsibility. when there are so many so-called experts about islam. i have select television as the main place, but these are people who have expertise, no academic credentials, no true institutional representation -- if you go to the american academy of religion, or the middle east studies association,
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there are hundreds of professors in the united states who are experts on the middle as, on islam, they are completely neglected. maybe they are not charismatic enough for television. i do not know. but it is not all our responsibility, only our responsibility to have accurate information. there are resources available. there are people available. there are excellent books available. and so, there needs to be a bit more of a partnership between the people who have the accurate information and those who are lifting up who is an expert on islam in the general media. yeah? >> rabbi steve, the president of the jewish council for public affairs. listen to professor ingrid mattson just caused me to want
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to stand up and say, it is not just movies like "obsession." it is submitted. it is no longer an option to be silent. it is in our statement -- is significant. but those of us who have been, not silent, but too quiet. we are understanding that we must stand up when we see these a lot is being told, when we see by is being spread all over the country, not only academics, thinkers, but common people who say, this is not the america that we came from. this is not the america we will accept. it is an end to silence. is not an option anymore. -- it is not an option anymore. those of us who care about this
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country, we learned we have to stand up for our muslim brothers and sisters and say, this is not ok. that is what i wanted to answer to you. >> we are really celebrating that our partners from different faith organizations and denominations are here on this very important summit, we want to tell you that islamic society of north america has been consistently, continuously involved at the grass-roots level. we are working with the leaders through their grassroots organizations, synogogues, churches, and so on. for example, we have a program with the jewish community, several programs. when we have to wait with the union of reformed judaism -- we have jointly with the union of reformed judaism, bringing
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together congregations and discussing islam and judaism. it has created a lot of new literature as a new understanding and a lot of partnerships at that level. similarly, we have been celebrating it ever years for the past several years, to bring together muslim organizations, islamic centers, mosques, and jewish centers. we have that during one weekend, imams, rabbis, they condemn islamophobia and anti- semitism. we invited these imamas and rabbis from different european countries -- it was a new
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experience because europe is far behind in the successful integration of muslims in america has become a model for europe in particular. european governments are sending their leaders here to study how these things have been achieved. so, similarly, with the national council of churches at the grass-roots level, we have in different cities and states where you have state councils of churches and islamic organizations jointly working, that is what we have today in gainesville, the islamic center and different churches and synagogues together have forced a strong relationship. during this whole month, they have been preparing their people, giving more lessons,
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more dialogues. gainesville itself has become more dialogue. this act, it is nothing in comparison to the love, respect, appreciation -- it is wonderful that it is the month of ramadan. moslems are so much motivated and directed to export their compassion and discipline. in this, it is amazing to see how these different religious groups at the grass-roots level, the mosques and synagogues, are getting together. >> that was the national director of the office of interface and community alliances of the islamic society of north america.
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>> lori goodstein with "the new york times". you say in your statement that people of good conscience can have different ideas on the muslim communictty center, mosque, near ground zero, yet, there will be many people who want to know how you as religious leaders stand on that. did you come to consensus on that? is there anything you can say affirmatively about how, as a group, what position you take on that? >> ok. we really -- the reason we were meeting here today was much bigger than that particular issue. we did not discuss it other than to say the reason we are
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meeting is what happened because of that around that or is using that as an excuse for this intensifying of anti =-m uslim rhetoric. it was not our focus today. i have no idea of what the opinions are, unless they have made public statements. ok. one more question. >> wusa in washington. i have many different friends from different religions. do you think there needs to be a more concerted effort with our religious leaders to promote diversification and the rights of different points of view and belief in the church setting,
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administering and preaching, as opposed to, this is the way it should be if you do not follow these ways, bad things happen? more unity. hey, your friend across the street, is a good person appeared. . >> i have sympathy with ministers. i teach them. it is difficult to get the attention of the conversation to your basic message of their own faith. so i know it is challenging for congregational leaders to integrate other messages into their weekly sermons or into their teaching, but it's not an option anymore. we live in a world in which we are neighbors of people of all different faiths, and we have to know what our own traditions say
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about those other people. that is part of our religious education. what do you as a christian, or a jew or a muslim belief about other people? what does your religion say about how you should treat them, how you should speak to them, about what rights they have? this has to be part of what we are teaching. it is one of the reasons why isna has done the kind of curriculum he has mentioned. our community -- it is important that our community understands the basics of judaism so they don't distort the beliefs of their neighbors. that christians civisimilarly understand some basic things about their muslim neighbors so they are not bearing false witness. this is a violation of one of the commandments, to bear false witness. also in islam.
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we have to say what is true about the other, and if we do not know, we need to find out through legitimate and reliable sources. i do think that there are many religious leaders who are struggling to find ways to do this education. it is difficult because many people do not get their information, even about their own religion, from their own preacher. if they go to the internet and try to find information. so we are all kind of struggling with the new ways that people get information about anything, including their faith or ethics these days, and we are doing the best we can to catch up with that reality. >> general secretary of the american baptist churches. i share the concern and compassion for local pastors with regard to your question. some of the most offensive statements about islam,
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unfortunately, i have come forth from the baptist community. therefore, some of us as baptist leaders, felt it was important for us to join with isna and our muslim brothers and sisters in order to put together a program that would help us lift this issue in our local congregations of understanding other faiths. the islamic faith, in order that we might live out our baptist values of religious liberty. we were borne of persecution as baptist in england and in the commonwealth of massachusetts. and it was for that reason that roger williams founded rhode island, as a baptist guaranteeing religious liberty for the first time. and so that value is dear to us. we cannot uphold that unless we teach our people what that means
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and the respect for one another, while also adhering to our own faith and understanding that deeply and practicing that. >> the final word? >> let me address your question because i am not pastor as well as president of the interfaith alliance. a pastor in monroe, louisiana. monroe, louisiana, is not a hotbed of liberalism in this nation. but i would not say anything here that i would not say in the pulpit, in the congregation. the implication that if you are going to talk about interfaith relations or into religious cooperation, that is an addendum to what you should be talking about christians would say is the gospel, others would say is their faith, and that is a fallacy. it is not an addenda. it is at the heart of what we're
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talking about. if someone in our conversation says, you should be teaching the gospel. we are teaching the gospel. it is not exclusive. it is inclusive. it is not about hate. it is about love. the people standing here right now are not doing this in spight of oute this is what religion is all about. >> my agency has the honor to be doing the twinning program. it is incredibly important to build those human contacts. it is why they are so incredibly
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vital. when people get to know each other, they are apprehensive at first, today you're crazy stuff. they do not come out the same when they come in. they come out excited, inspired, having been hugged t, having been connected. is so incredibly important that we build those kind of him and contacts in this atmosphere. thank you. >> as a pastor, but you are seeing before you today is the simple word communication. it is predicated upon three things. understanding -- we must understand each other. respect -- if we can understand each other, respect each other,
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and trust each other, we can accomplish the goals that you see outlined on the sheet. thank you. >> thank you for being here. there will be some people waiting around and you can interview. thank you very much. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010]
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>> if anyone engages in hate crimes, they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. they will continue to do it. >> questions about plans of a florida church to burn the koran read this portion is 15 minutes.
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>> as we approach 9/11, we have a special representative. how do you characterize the relationship between americans and moslems around the globe? -- muslims around the globe? >> first of all, people need to understand that in this country, we have freedom of religion. we also have freedom of expression. we believe that these are our fundamental principles of u.s.
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society. we are very conscience of -- conscious of what has been discussed as potential acts down in florida. we think that these dark provocative? . they are disrespectful. they are intolerant. we are conscious that a number of voices have come out and rejected what this pastor and this community have proposed. we would like to see more american stand up and say that this is inconsistent with our american values. these actions themselves are on american. -- un american. the pastor says that he has contemplated his actions to combat radicalism.
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if these actions -- these actions will feed radicals. the general petraeus mentioned over the weekend they could have at least as a powerful impact. at the same time, people around the world need to understand that america is not represented by one pastor or 50 followers. we are a nation of 300 million people. the vast majority of americans are standing up this weekend saying that these contemplated actions are inappropriate and should not happen. >> you said a great many people are rejecting this. are you rejecting this? do you feel that this particular group in florida should not do this? >> they should not do this. they potentially put soldiers at
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risk before any american who is traveling, a diplomat, these actions, whatever their motivation, puts americans and american lives at risk. >> why is it un americans? we did you point out that there are two principles here. -- you point out that there are two principles here. >> it is one thing to have a right to as to halt 1 exercises that right. this is a divisive, potential act of disrespect of one of the world's great religions. while we support -- this is an
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action that has serious ramifications. it is a statement of intolerance that we believe it is contrary to our values and how we conduct ourselves day in and day out -- what could be more american than expressing one's freedom of speech. they are in aid to us as americans. -- they are inmates to us as americans.
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there are far better ways to commemorate 9/11. it represents -- and another act of religious radicalism. >> -- i guess the point -- again, i'm having a hard time -- >> excuse me. i'm having a hard time understanding, first of all, why the state department is getting involved in an issue that relates directly to a florida church. >> well, first of all, i was asked. >> well, ok. fair enough. but you made the -- but then you made the observation that what they planned to do is un- american. and i -- >> i think -- there's -- there are a balance -- >> are you prepared to say the same thing if someone wants to -- >> look, there are a balance of interests here. but this, in our view, has the potential to inflame public opinion around the world in a way that will jeopardize american lives and american interests.
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it does not represent our core values as americans. we hope it does not happen. we hope that between now and saturday, there'll be a range of voices across america that make clear to this community that this is not the way for us to commemorate 9/11. in fact, it is consistent with the radicals and bigot -- with those bigots who attacked us on 9/11. >> right. but in fact, it is -- but wait -- >> hold on -- matt. matt, others want to ask questions, too. >> you're saying that this may be incitement, but it is still a first amendment issue. what really -- what recourse does the government have to, say, go to the city of gainesville and say maybe you should not issue a bonfire or whatever it is permit and all these things? >> well, i mean, all we really have here is a bully pulpit. the community is going to do what they do. i mean, the city government has declined to provide a permit for this event.
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the pastor appears to be unswayed by comments by general petraeus and others who have expressed concern about the action that is being contemplated. we want to see -- we support a vigorous debate in this country, even about issues that have great sensitivity. that said, there is a point where the debate yields to something more significant. we are hopeful, between now and saturday, that a range of voices, whether they're political figures, religious figures, others, can rise and convince this community that there are better ways of commemorating 9/11 than through this action. >> but, p.j., one more thing. the secretary is going to speak out this evening. and second, freedom of expression or freedom of religion doesn't mean that you put the whole country on fire.
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>> well, and, goyal, there is another side to this. that's true. but if this community goes ahead and -- with this proposed event on saturday, we would hope that the rest of the world will judge us not by the actions of one pastor or 50 followers, but judge us by a tradition that goes back to our founding. we did not indict entire countries or an entire religion over the actions of 9/11, and we would hope that the rest of the world does not indict the united states for the actions of one fringe element in florida. >> p.j., can i ask just one on this? are you absolutely certain that you want to stick with the word "un-american" to describe this potential action, or do you want maybe walk back from that word?
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>> let me define what i meant by this. we have a tremendous tradition of religious tolerance in this country. we believe that the potential act of burning a qu'ran shows enormous disrespect to one of the world's great religions. it is contrary to our values. it's contrary to how civil society has emerged in this country. it is un-american in the sense that it does not represent the views of the vast majority of americans who are respectful of religions -- of the world's great religions. so while it may well be within someone's rights to take this action, we believe and hope that cooler heads will prevail and other ways can be found to promote a dialogue among the world's greatest religions, which is what we have been trying to do here within this country and within this department since 9/11.
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>> p.j., i wanted to ask real quick -- you touched on it earlier in your remarks that general petraeus talked about the risk to members of the military abroad. can you say whether you have similar concerns about whether this poses any threats to americans tourists, for example? >> i think i encompassed that in my remarks. it does. to -- we've already seen small- scale demonstrations in various countries overseas where anxiety levels are building because of the publicity surrounding this proposed action. it does put the lives of ordinary americans at risk, as well as diplomats, as well as soldiers. >> p.j., you don't believe that as far as -- because many americans don't like, as far as building the mosque at ground zero, you think anything to do with that?
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>> goyal, i don't believe that the proposed events in florida are related -- excuse me -- to the debate -- >> bless you. >> -- in new york. >> p.j., both general petraeus and yourself, and presumably -- and, actually, all federal employees take an oath to uphold the constitution, to defend the constitution. and it seems to me that whether someone wants to burn a qu'ran or a flag or an american flag or the bible or the torah or any other symbol of something that we think or that the general society thinks is a good or a great thing -- like the flag is a symbol of the country which people routinely say is going to have the greatest example of representative democracy on earth, and yet, when people burn american flags in this country or around the world, we don't hear this kind of thing saying that that's un-american.
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in fact, that's protected speech. so i guess what my question is that it seems to me that while it may be against the values of the great majority of americans for them to do it, you and people in this government, as sworn defenders of the constitution, have the obligation to defend their right to do it, regardless of how abhorrent you find it. >> and, matt, you've made a good scholarly and legal argument there, which i accept. i mean, i think you have to distinguish between legal rights that we have -- and freedom of expression and the first amendment are, in fact, enshrined in our constitution as something that we support here and elsewhere every day. what we're concerned about is there is the right and then there's how you exercise that right. this is a potential action that has serious implications for
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u.s. interests around the world. it potentially puts american lives at risk. and when you balance out a right and a responsibility, in our view, we hope that this pastor and this community will find a different way to commemorate 9/11 and express a justified concern about religious radicalism anywhere in the world. but as americans, i think this is an act of disrespect to a religious symbol and a great religion that we think is uncharacteristic of our tradition and the religious tolerance that has been an essential part of our society and our history. >> on the iftar dinner tonight, in the original notice that went out, secretary clinton was going to speak and deliver live remarks. i'm wondering why she's now delivering taped remarks. and also, why was the time of the event changed?
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>> that's two different events. >> right. no, it's two different events. >> oh, she -- >> she will be delivering some remarks tonight. >> will she discuss this issue in her remarks tonight? >> i expect she will. >> to talk about what? the mosque or about the florida -- >> she -- i expect that she -- between her remarks tonight and her remarks tomorrow at cfr, i would fully expect that she will comment on this issue. >> do you know on how this individual might be held accountable for anything that happens some 7,000 miles away? >> and now that is a matter for local authorities. but our concern here is that the implications that this has in terms of our relations with people in muslim-majority countries all over the world.
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>> in a few minutes a panel and preventing health care fraud. on "washington journal tomorrow morning, learn about the economy and the president's new economic plans. "washington journal is live on c-span every day at 7:00 eastern. >> at long last, the united states of america and joins every other industrial nation in the world to say health care is the right, not a privilege. they have been calling town hall meetings and we have been covering them. while some online at the c-span video library. -- watch them on line at the c- span video library.
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>> a health-care fraud prevention summit hosted by the departments of health and human services and justice. including comments from kathleen sibelius and attorney general eric colder. this is three hours. >> i am delighted to welcome you. we have a great program plants started with some major presentations this morning. we have three panels later on. before we began, i would like to
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express our gratitude to our gracious hosts, the president of los angeles city college and the executive director of the l.a. foundation. i would like to have you join me in greeting -- dr. more? [applause] >> thank you. welcome to los angeles city college. i am president of the campus. we would like to say a special thank you on behalf of the faculty, students, and staff to secretary sibelius and attorney general eric holder for bringing this important summit to los angeles city college. your success in fraud prevention will mean for us that many more health care dollars remain in our community. we would like to thank you for the hard work that you are doing and wish you much success in your summit today. thank you for coming out to los
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angeles city college. [applause] >> i would very much like to express my thanks to many -- the many people who have worked so hard to make the summit possible. this includes our colleagues of the department of justice, at the department of health and human services, the office of the inspector general, and the administration on aging. a final thank you to all of you for joining with us and to all of those two r in our lives, what -- live web cast video on the we share this important agenda and recognize the need to move very firmly and definitive leak in fighting fraud against the health care system. it is now my distinct privilege to introduce to you the united states attorney for the central district of california.
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if you will join me in welcoming him. -- welcoming him. [applause] >> good morning, everyone. i am honored and privileged to be year -- to be here. it is my pleasure to welcome all of you to the los angeles health care fraud prevention summits. thank you for participating in today's summit and thank you for your leadership in helping to combat health care fraud in the central district of california. we are particularly honored today to have both helped and human services secretary sibelius and eric holder for being here. i personally want to thank them for their commitment that they have already demonstrated in battling health care fraud and and their ongoing commitment to the health-care fraud prevention enforcement action team to continue to fight the
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devastating effects of health- care fraud on patients, providers, businesses, and insurance companies. their presence here today, along with all of you, reflect a recognition of the scope of the health care fraud problem here in southern california at the same time, a cabinet to continuing the effort to address this problem. as leaders in the fight against health care fraud, all of you note the los angeles metropolitan area is a national at the center for health care fraud. my district has the largest population of any district in the country. approximately 19 million people. california has the largest medicare and medicaid population in the country with 4.3 million people and 10.6 million people respectively. crooks you want to defraud health care prey on this large population, particularly the large elderly and immigrant
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populations within this district. we have taken action largest civil penalties against the hospital to overbuilt medicare for a variety of services. in addition, we have criminally prosecuted the owners of seven health care agencies that collected approximately $125 million in false medicare billings. we have prosecuted the doctors involved in those fraud cases as well.
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we worked in partnership with the fbi, the health and human services, irs, the department of justice to take down these hardcore for lobsters. -- fraudsters. we will certainly continue to pursue these types of criminal cases against those who commit health-care fraud. in addition to our criminal cases, we coordinate those criminal remedies would civil and administrative enforcement to maximize our fact. on the civil side, my office has obtained more than $1.1 billion in recovery over the last five years. we continue to file civil cases to recover amounts taken from medicare by fraud. our officers settled a civil lawsuit against a hospital or the hospital agreed to pay $5.2 million to the united states before their fraudulent
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activities. make no mistake about it, i am committed to continuing these great efforts and increasing them and we have some wonderful resources in the law-enforcement community. law enforcement, health care providers, a private insurance providers, and senior advocates, working together under the auspices of heat we can marshal these resources to reduce health-care fraud and improve the quality of care. again, welcome and thank you for participating in today's summit. i look forward to listening and learning from you in today's discussion and the ideas that you all can provide. thank you. [applause] >> it is a sign of the importance that president obama
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places on fraud that he has worked together in partnership if you will now join me in welcoming the secretary of the united states department of health and human services, the honorable kathleen sibelius and the attorney general of the united states of america the honorable eric holder. [applause] >> thank you. good morning, everybody. i am really delighted to join peter, the u.s. attorney, and welcome everyone here this morning. i am here along with a great partner and good friend on fighting fraud, attorney general eric holder. i want to thank president more and everybody at los angeles city college for opening their doors to us today and making
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today's event possible. they're doing it on a difficult day because i was told -- i was told that all the faculty is here. they have actually cleared some space for a. last may, president obama asked as to lead a new effort to stamp out health care fraud. protect taxpayer dollars and keep criminals out of our health-care system. together we created a new health care fraud prevention and action task force, which recall heat. an unprecedented partnership bringing together cabinet leaders from both our departments to share information and coordinate strategies. that partnership is already paying off. last year, returns to the medicare trust fund for anti- fraud efforts were up almost 30% from the year before. with our annual health-care spending rising from just $75 million in 1970 to more than $2.50 trillion today, our health
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care system presents a much bigger target than ever for criminals. in the fight against fraud, we'd all the help that we can get. that is why over the last year, we have built new partnerships across the health-care system. we are working with patients to protect their information and their help. we are working with providers to strengthen screening standards. we're working with private insurers to trade strategy's about how to prevent fraud. we're training seniors to spot potential scam artists and alert the authorities. clear partnering with law enforcement to share resources, use new data, break down old walls between our jurisdictions. this past january, we hosted the first ever national health care fraud summit in washington. bringing together of law enforcement, government, providers, and private insurance companies to share their best strategy and develop new fraud prevention tools. but we knew we really wanted the strategy is to take great, we
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needed to look beyond the beltway and listen to people on the front lines. we've scheduled a series of regional health-care fraud summits. in july, we went to south florida. today, we are here in los angeles, the second summit. it did not come at a more important moment. we're at a time where so many families are scraping together every last dollar to pay their medical bills. we are here in a region that has serious budget woes and soaring prices. abuses like fraud and waste on our health care system are simply unacceptable. this morning, i visited with doctors and peters, a provider you'll hear from later on in the program. dr. peters is a local physician and internal medicine doctor, who had her identity stolen by a team of criminals operating a massive fraud scheme. dr. peters was just doing what she loved to do, treating patients and providing care to
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those in need. a group of scam artist stillborn name enter medicare provider #and began to build medicare for services, services she was not providing to patients who never saw. that fraud was ended using an undercover informant and new tools to track the money. by the time we shut the operation down, we found that they had already laundered as much as $4.7 million under 19 different provider names. today, nearly all of that money has been recovered. when we caught those perpetrators, we just did not find boxes of fraudulent medical records. we found a stockpile of dangerous weapons, including assault rifles, machine guns, and brass knuckles. we caught the scheme thanks to old-fashioned detective work and great agents on the ground. over the last year, we have made a serious commitment to get even
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more agents on the ground. we have more than tripled the amount of medicare strike forces. we're spending the program to enlist medicare beneficiaries to fight fraud. we have a army known as the senior medicare patrol training volunteers and we are adding 350,000 -- treated $50 million to expand our fraud efforts. the more manpower is more critical, but it is not enough. we really want to take this fight to the criminals so we need smarter tools, better information to track them down. tougher penalties once we catch them. that is why earlier this year, we created a new center for program integrity. in march, the president gave him some extra tools when congress passed the affordable care act. it is one of the strongest health care antifraud build an american history. under the new law, we began to
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strengthen the screenings for health-care providers who wanted participate in medicaid or medicare. i am pleased to announce that we are issuing a final rule standing in the old standards for suppliers of durable medical equipment and prosthetics and robotics and supplies. this rule and others coming stand up mean that only appropriately qualified suppliers will be allowed to enroll in the program. the days when you could just hang a shingle out over a desk and start submitting claims are over. no more power driven wheelchairs' for marathon runners. under our new law, we are making it easier for law enforcement officials to see health care claims data from around the country in one place. combining all medicare claims into a single searchable data base. we are getting smarter about analyzing those claims in real time to flag potential scams. this is a technique that credit
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card companies have been using for years. if 10 flat screen tvs are suddenly charged to my credit card, they will know that something is our right. they put a hold on the payment and call me right away. we should be able to take that same approach 11 provider segment 10 times as many claims for oxygen equipment as a similar provider just blocks down the street. it is about spotting fraud early before it escalates and the cost grows. as we step up our efforts to stamp out fraud, we will hold ourselves accountable. the president has made a commitment that will cut improper medicaid payments in half by 2012. not all of these improper payments are fraud. but we need to make sure that every single taxpayer dollar is spent wisely and we will work with providers to get right. all of these efforts are about meeting our special obligation to medicare. seniors have worked hard to earn
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their benefits and they deserve to know that everything possible is being done to protect them. today, we are hosting events across los angeles to highlight the work that is going on to fight fraud. we want the public and medicare beneficiaries to know that they have an important role to play. to stay wary and watchful, to ask questions and keep track of their medical bills and payments, and to hold on to their medicare numbers. we recently ran a series of radio spots in los angeles warning people to be on the alert. we know these criminals target the most vulnerable populations, which is why we ran the ads in several languages, including spanish and korean. later today, i will share the same message when i meet with seniors at the jewish family service senior center along with representatives of senior medicare patrol. health care fraud has been
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growing for too many years. in the past, it has been accepted that with any big enterprise, it was likely to be some level of fraud and abuse. but those days are over. the changes we are making over the last year and a half and will continue to make me not from the perspective of a potential criminal, it is a lot harder and riskier to submit false claims. if you do, you're more likely to be caught. if you get caught, you're likely to pay a higher price. i want to thank all of you for being here. all of you for helping us in this anti-fraud efforts. i look forward to seeing what ideas come out of our discussions today and continue the conversation as the work to free our health care system of waste and fraud. i would like to introduce my great partner and defender of the american people and a partner in fighting health care fraud, the united states attorney general eric holder. [applause]
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>> thank you. good morning. good afternoon? there are people in the audience, yes? before i get into my remarks, if i were to see on my credit card 10 flat screen televisions, that could have meant that if i am convinced my wife that these things were needed. [laughter] probably fraud. it is a pleasure to join secretary sibelius and welcoming you all here today. i want to thank each of you for your participation in today's discussion and for your partnership in the fight against health care fraud. looking around, i am encouraged
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by the director -- the diversity of perspective represented here. i am glad the top federal state and -- federal and state officials, health care providers, law enforcement, physicians, business executives, and caregivers have all come together for this very credible summit meeting. each one of those shares the same concerns about the devastating impact and effects of health-care fraud. we share the same goals of protecting potential victims, safeguarding precious taxpayer dollars, and ensuring the strength of our health care system. despite the commitment that you represent and the great work that is being done across and beyond los angeles, we can all agree that it is time to take our nationwide fight against health care fraud to the next level. that is what today is really about. the summit is an importance step
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forward. an opportunity to build on what since the secretary and i convened the first national summit on health care fraud in washington in january. last month, we kicked off a series of regional conversations in miami, where we also announce the results of the largest federal health care fraud take down in our nation's history. rhaetian -- regional initiative should be here in los angeles. for health-care fraud schemes. you all know what we are up against. our health care system is essentially under siege. exploited by criminals intent on lining their own pockets at the of the american taxpayers. angeles, the crimes have reached quite epic
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proportions, driving up health care costs for everyone. the long-term solvency of medicare and medicaid programs into doubt. we are fighting back. we are fighting back. we're fighting back in bold and innovative ways. forward in this fight. in may, the department of justice and health and human services launched the health care fraud prevention and action -- action team. through heat, we have fostered unprecedented collaboration between our agencies and our law enforcement partners. we have ensured that the fight is a cabinet level priority within the obama administration. we strengthen our capacity to fight against health care fraud to be enhanced use of our joint medicare strike forces. this approach is working. the impact has been recognized
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by president obama, whose 2011 expand our network. with these new resources, and our continued commitment to collaboration, i have no doubt that we will be able to extend he its record of achievement. this record is rather extraordinary. in the last fiscal year, we have one or negotiated more than $1.6 billion in judgments and settlements, returned more than $2.5 billion to the medicare trust fund, and opened thousands of new criminal and civil health care fraud investigations. we reached an all-time high in the number of health care fraud defendants to have been charged and stabbed numerous large-scale fraud teams in their tracks. we cannot be encouraged by what has been accomplished here in los angeles. criminals we have brought to
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justice here in the last year alone include the owners of the city of angels hospital, who pleaded guilty to paying illegal kickbacks to homeless shelters as part of the scheme to defraud medicare and -- medicare. insurance companies by misrepresenting cosmetic as medically necessary. and george county on colleges to pleaded guilty to fraudulently billing medicare and other insurance companies up to $1 million for cancer medications that were not provided. a doctor who pleaded guilty to help care fraud to giving aids and hiv patients diluted criminals who defraud the system at a foreplay $5 million by using unlicensed care to scores of disabled patients and many of them were children. these are just a few of many
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local schemes that have been aggressively and permanently shut down. they're all proof that we can make a measurable, meaningful progress in the fight against health care fraud. we cannot do this alone. we cannot do this alone. the need your help. we will rely on your recommendations to help guide and enhance this critical work. despite all of this that has been accomplished, health-care fraud remains a very significant problem. at this very moment, we know that an alarming number of scam artists and criminals are attempting to profit from misinformation about the affordable health care act. that is why early this summer, secretary sibelius and i wrote to all the state attorneys generals, urging them to develop outreach programs to educate seniors and other medicare beneficiaries about how to protect themselves and how to prevent scams. each of you can be a part of
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this and other public education efforts as well. each of you can help to ensure there are hard-line help reform achievements are not exploited. the good news is that the affordable care act provides us with new resources and include tough new penalties and rules to help stop and to prevent health care fraud. we will continue to work vigorously with our law enforcement and private sector partners to ensure that those to engage in fraud, we will keep industry leaders informed about emerging fraud schemes and helped institute effective compliance and anti-fraud programs. we will punish offenders to the fullest extent of the law. that is a promise. as the work to build on the progress that has been made,
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your presence here today gives me great hope about what we can accomplish together. i thank you all once again for joining us and for your ongoing commitment to protecting the american people, and ensuring the strength and integrity of our health-care system. i would like to turn things over to an extraordinary leader and partner in this work, the assistant attorney general for the criminal division of the department of justice. [applause] >> thank you, mr. attorney- general. it is a real pleasure to join you, secretary sibelius, for this hour second regional health care fraud prevention summits. the partnership between the department of justice and the department of health and human services has never been
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stronger. that strength comes from a very tangible commitment from the highest levels of both departments to the prosecutors and agents who are -- to work side-by-side each and every day to identify health care fraud as it is happening. the commitment of the secretary and the commitment of the attorney general simply could not be greater. these summits offer our agencies the opportunity to share our success stories, explain our innovative, investigative approaches and listen to and learn from you, to hear your ideas and your concerns. i see many of our strike force partners in the audience here today. agents and investigators from the fbi, the office of inspector general from hhs, and the euro of medi-cal, fraud and elder abuse and the california
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department of justice. all of them work together to scour the available data and investigate files for fraud patterns, tracking down leads and bringing cases as quickly and as responsibly as possible. the result of these partnerships across the federal agencies and with state and local law enforcement have been so incredibly impressive. in the past three years, our teams have filed criminal charges against more than 810 individuals around the country who tried to bulk of the medicare program for approximately $1.9 billion in fraudulent claims. we have identified and prosecuted schemes involving promises of durable medical equipment, power wheelchairs', to those who never received them. extensive hiv in fuse but
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treatments for individuals who do not need them. physical therapy services that are never delivered and home health-care agencies whose so- called patience are paid kickbacks in exchange for pretending that they need medical services. l.a. fraudsters accounts for nearly $100 million in village a minute -- and legitimate claims to medicare. in 2007, the criminal division of the justice department refocus our approach to investigating and prosecuting medical health care fraud cases. our investigative approach is now data driven. our analysts and agents review medicare billing data from across the country. we identify patterns of unusual billing contact and then deploy
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our strike forced teams and investigators and prosecutors to those hot spots to investigate, make arrests, and prosecutors. as criminals become more creative and more sophisticated, we intend to use our most aggressive investigative techniques and we will be right there at their heels whenever possible. we actively use undercover operations, court authorized wiretaps and bugs, a confidential informant, to stop these schemes in their tracks. we have to do this. we can do no less. the results have been unprecedented. simply put, the results have been incredible. just last month, the attorney general and secretary sibelius' announced the largest federal health care fraud paid -- take down since the medicare strike force operations began in 2007.
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94 defendants in five cities were charged with fraud. amounting to more than $251 million. if we are not just arresting these fraudsters. we are sending them to jail and we are taking their money back and we are returning whenever we can to their victims. last week, a federal judge in detroit sentenced a doctor to 14 years in jail for his involvement in a scheme to defraud medicare patients to various physical and occupational speak their piece dance. the judge ordered the defendant to pay $9.4 million in restitution. the stiff sentences and steep restitution orders send a clear message to those who might use against to steal taxpayer dollars. the country will simply not
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tolerate the looting of our medicare program. here in los angeles, our work together has wielded tremendous results. let me give you a few examples of the successes of the allied strike force. -- l. a strike force. a 31 year-old long beach man was convicted in april for recruiting relatives and members of the gang to pose as owners of medical supply companies. the only problems were all of these medical supply companies were fake. these sham companies, many of which were owned and operated by gang members, fraudulently billed medicaid of $11.2 million worth of the necessary wheelchairs' and other equipment. another case, and honor of a medical equipment supply company billed medicare for power wheelchair's costing up to
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$7,000 each on behalf of more than 170 beneficiaries. none of whom needed the wheel chairs. in all, he submitted $1.1 million in phony claims through medicare. his acts were surprisingly brazen. the elderly and disabled medicare beneficiaries testified at his trial that individuals known as marketers approached them on the street at their homes, even at church, and convinced them to hand over their medicare numbers and other personal information in exchange for these free power wheelchairs'. one beneficiary was blind and unable to see and operate the wheelchair testified that he nevertheless received one. another beneficiary testified that an individual pretending to
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be from medicare who was actually an associate of the defendant threatened to terminate hurt medicare benefits, as she accepted a power wheelchair that she did not need. can you think of conduct that is more brazen and manipulative? in march, that defendant was sentenced to nine years in prison and ordered to pay $526,000 that he had received from medicare, plus a fine of $25,000. just this past may, the strike force prosecutors here filed an indictment charging for defendants with a scheme involving numerous medical claimants in and around los angeles. these clinics allegedly billed medicare for nearly $19 million in fraudulent claims by some of the claims for diagnostic and medical tests, power wheelchair's, accessories, orthopedic shoes.
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all for beneficiaries who did not need them. these cases make it abundantly clear why the strike force model is such a priority for the criminal division and for this administration as a whole. those who desperately need medical services now and to ensure that our children and our children's children will know that their medicare coffers will not be emptied by criminals. by aggressively targeting fraud as it happens, we send an unmistakable message to would-be fraudsters that the federal government is paying attention. they are paying attention in new york, miami, detroit, houston. we are paying attention here in los angeles.
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we are paying attention here in los angeles. of course, we could not have achieved these tremendous results without the commitment and cooperation of our law enforcement partners and from the public. although we certainly celebrate our successes, we are here today because we know that we cannot stop now. we must still do far more. indeed, we have really just begun the real fight. we are in this battle to win. by partnering together and by educating the public about the scheme is used by fraudsters, we can ensure that the moneys are public are dedicated to providing health care to all americans and they go to the people who need them the most. and not to line the pockets of criminals.
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today's law enforcement panel includes some of the people who are working on the front lines of this problem. they are here today to talk to you about how law enforcement, prosecutors, and agents are combating this issue at each and every day. greg, one of my deputy assistant attorneys general is here to lead the discussion. i want to thank you all for letting me join your today. is a great day and i turned over now to greg and the panel. thank you so much. [applause] >> good morning. as you have heard, the prosecution and investigation of health care fraud is a priority for the department of justice, the department of health and human services, and are partners here in a state of california. starting with the lawyers in the u.s. attorney's office in los angeles, together with other
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lawyers, they have done great work. including the work of their medicare strike force, which is staffed by both agencies. those lawyers work with agents from the fbi, from the office of inspector general, the health and human services, and other law enforcement officials from california law enforcement agencies. the men and women who were on the front lines of those investigations and prosecutions are here today to talk about their important work. just a quick word about the medicare strike forces that you will hear about and that you have heard about. the medicare strike forces consisted teams of prosecutors and agents who target health care fraud based on data driven models. based on an analysis of that data, the department of justice is able to target hot spots where fraud is occurring based on billing patterns and you'll
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hear more about that today. let me introduce the law enforcement officials on the panel. he is an assistant special agent in charge of the office of inspector general at the department of health and human services. she is a supervisor and special agent of the federal euro of investigation here in california. when the wise is a civil health- care fraud coordinator at the u.s. attorney's office for the central district of california. . .
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>> everything within medicare is claimed driven. it has to be a claim first. once a claim is cemented by a provider, today has been submitted by a provider, if you can live get the data and follow -- once a claim has been cemented by the provider, you can get data. you can use the model to pursue the information. this is only a lead. it is a great lead.
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you can use that information and have agents go out and conduct the interview. they can confirm if it is correct or not. it could be a mistake. it could be in error. it allows this to be proactive. instead of waiting years to pursue the individual, as soon as the data comes in, the agents can look into the situation. >> can you explain the different types of trendy have seen with respect to the billing? -- the trends you have seen with respect to the billing? are there different areas with respect to the prosecution? >> the biggest trend we are seeing is some d &e companies
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that were billing millions of dollars within a month and to a operation. this could be a mistake. with the gatt information, it allows this to go out and confirmed the information to be correct. some of the companies we looked at where non -- were non- traditional. there was a sign as a comeback to 1:00. we came back and no one was there at 1:00 or tuesday on monday, tuesday, and wednesday. they were billing millions of dollars to medicare and no one was there. some of the company's that delivered the project would deliver to individuals in central california. they were not medically necessary.
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the delivery person showed up and said to sign here. they left it. shoes able to get to the second floor without an elevator -- she was able to get to the second floor without an elevator. some companies on delivery are not delivering anything. we are seeing a lot of small companies that have just recently opened billing millions of dollars. they are waiting months to be proactive about it. >> to talk about some of the different teams -- -- you talked about some of the different schemes. the more the people involved?
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are they compromised? are they bribed? are the victims of identity theft? >> yes. [laughter] there is your answer. it could be due to finance a regions. -- to financial regioreasons. i was offered a ride to a clinic in l.a. this individualism bakersfield. -- lives in bakersfield. that is about 100 miles from l.a. they are taken from one clinic to a home health agency and then taken back. in those cases, yes, the beneficiary is involved. medicare claims require the
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information. they were used to file false claims and the reclaims. >> can you talk about the fbi commitment to the strike force? >> they started in january 2008. we work that jointly with hhs. they had some successful results. some of the techniques that we are using, undercover operations, wiretaps, surveillance -- another thing is seizures, to take the funds away
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from the criminals that they have acquired fraudulently. there have been 76 indictments, 29 convictions, 25 caesars, and approximately $3.7 million in restitution there are a lot of ongoing cases. the numbers are going to rise. we are working to modify if pending cases on the strike oral in partnership. >> the strike forces are only part of the work with respect to health care fraud. the fbi was also involved in the city of angels case. can you describe that? >> we referred to that as the skid row case. what happened with that originally is the los angeles attorney office received a complaint that people were being dumped on skid row and hospital
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gowns. the attorney's office contacted the police departments who went out and investigate it and sell and valances dumping patients on skid row and hospital gowns. they contacted federal authorities. we began an investigation. there were several hospitals conducting this behavior. what they were doing was recruiting. recruiters for getting patients to have medicare benefits and bringing them into hospitals even though it was not necessary care, allowing them to say for approximately three days. that way it did not bring more attention.
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we have over half a dozen convictions. it is an ongoing investigation. i expect we will have more. to date, over $22 million payment have been paid out. >> let me turn to you. can you describe what the role of the california department of justice is in the strike force? >> we join did early on as a partner to look at a metical providers that were involved. initially, we provided support. it then we became a player. most of the provider week had taken down more medicare as well. that is how we got involved. most of the time, yet our cases
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through local. in southern california, we have taken on the approach of joining a local task forces and not only been partners in trying to be a strong partner. that is what we have done. >> are the individuals the same individuals that are defrauding the state as well? >> many times they are. mostly time they were crossover cases that we -- it is pretty difficult. our friendship has made a very successful. >> are you using? and on the stateside, collected
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by the state to california? >> we are. most of the information comes from the department of health care services. last year alone, and the california department of justice led the nation in criminal convictions as well as money recovered throughout the state with two and $20 million in recovery. >> are you finding cases of fraud relating to elder care if? >> we are tasked with looking toward elder views in metical -- medical facility is. although our budget has been limited, we partner with agencies to try to figure out
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the cases. >> can you describe some of these themes that are happening on the elder care front? >> several cases we just went through where -- we had one where there were 42 people indicted and convicted. they were going into home health organizations and posing as nurses. if they were not actually nurses. they were posing as nurses and billing the program as they would as normal nurses. those cases seem ungracious to believe -- to begin with. when you look at children was terrible policy and other issues, we are being treated by people who should not have been treating them. >> you are the chief of the fraud section. you had the fbi and the office
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of inspector general. your partners with california. what is happening in court? who are you prosecuting for these crimes? >> in durable medical of men fraud and and deliver services, we are looking to prosecute everyone knew what and fall significantly in perpetrating a fraud scheme profound -- fraud scheme. that includes a person delivering. that includes the owners on whose behalf the claims were submitted. it includes the recruiter who still or obtained the necessary information used to some of the fraudulent medicare claims for the -- claims. what we are looking for is the leaders and organizers of these teams, the people who are really
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profiting from them and the professional gatekeepers, and the doctors and nurses are not the victims of identity theft but who are willing participants without whose critical assistance the schemes would not be completed. though some of the people we are prosecuting in the durable medical equipment area. we are also looking at institutions who are involved in medicare fraud, and the they hospitals -- as in the skid row case for pharmaceutical companies that are engaged in off label marketing. in this third category of cases as i described as only in l.a., and there are cases where individuals are at hospitals to sneak into computer systems to obtain information about certain patients, usually celebrities, and then try to sell that information to news
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organizations such as "the enquirer, " we have been aggressive in that area. why ask year -- >> let me ask you this. we are talking about the lawyers. the answers get a little bit longer. the agency not like to talk as much. the lawyers enjoy their profession. [applause] but to ask you about the doctors. how are they proper taking the fraud? were roller they playing? -- what role are they playing? >> the doctors are often themselves the victim of identity theft. a lot of cases they negligently or willfully lend out their doctor numbers in order for the culprits to submit these false medicare claims.
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it is the duke asserts medical clinics. it happens when their actions submitted as well. >> what about organized crime? had you had cases involving individuals but are associated with organized crime? >> we have. we are actively trying to explore that nexus. in a lot of cases, we are looking the communities in los angeles and the monies that are stolen from the medicare system. there are frequently -- are prudently wired overseas to russia and armenia. it is difficult to recover the funds from the we are actively trying to trace those connections between health-care
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fraud and organized crime. >> the people that are being convicted, are they going to jail? >> absolutely. we are obtaining a custodial sentences. i think the seriousness is frustration proposal been. >> kucinich discuss some of the different trend? >> right now we have strike forces in seven cities around the country would have been
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identified. medical billing-10 at the places all around the united states that had the worst health care fraud problems. as we have grown and expanded, we have gotten a unique insight into this national view that health care fraud. what is disturbing but good to know is that identifying the "viral" nature of health care fraud. it is viral in tw the differenceo ways. in particular locations, we have seen that once there is a particular type of fraud for criminals learn they can get a lot of money, that small fraud grows exponentially over a very short amount of china -- time. and friends and relatives learn there is a great way to make quick money. we have seen a boom in each of
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the strike force cities, in particular with this type of health-care fraud. it may be different in each location. we have identified home health problems and durable equipment. those are just examples. when you look at the other locations, miami, new york city, houston, you see similar trends. when you are looking through the data, you may identify what was a blip on the radar screen six months ago where you had $20 million worth of claims has blown up into $400 million worth of claims against that is something that has really been helpful in using the data to try to hit these criminals why they are involved in the fraud. that is the first of viral trend that we have seen.
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our first check for started march 2007. after return to 45 people, we notice that criminal start believing. it is not as if they stopped filling. this for and extract force was? detroit. as their best people, we got cooperators literally telling the stories of how they found out that there was this intense law-enforcement effort under way in miami. it is a blessing in acres. the ugly side is the see these criminals are moving. the upside is they realize that we are on them.
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>> there is a new health care legislation passed. can you tell the audience what the effect of that has been and what some in the benefits to these prosecutions are? >> it to a specific laid directed at health-care fraud. it gave prosecutors more tools to put people in jail for a longer amount of time. the two biggest that they be increased across the board. the have increase sentences. pitted a huge benefit to us. congress clarified how they
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define loss. there were diasgreements around the country on what a loss amount it tied to particular defendant again. congress directed the amount of loss should be every claim that was cemented that was a fraudulent regardless of whether it was paid to whether medicare thought they would pay for it. all of those issues were all in the past. congress has now spoken in a way that will help the prosecution down the road. >> what is the relevance of the amount of loss to the sentence?
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what is the importance of that number? >> it is that it should go to prison longer than someone that engages in $10,000 fraud. under the sentencing guidelines the driver is the amount of fraud. this clarification mr. licht a clarification to prosecutors around the country, saying that when you are considering the amount of fraud, need to consider the entire amount of fraud attempted to engage in regardless of whether of here she was desperate. >> less talk about forfeiture. what efforts are made steering this to recover the money. >> every strike force
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indictment have criminal allegations. we are demanding that they return the proceeds of their fraud. we have soon maserati is, a lamborghini is, of beachfront mansion is. we had one case where they launder their money to the dominican republic. we went to the dominican republic and worked with law enforcement to see a helicopter, water park, at three hotels,
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three beachfront mansion sped toward purchase of medicare money. >> what happens on the civil side? we are talking about the criminal side for a long time. that is only half the story. >> it to recover the money that has been stolen from medicare fund so that the rest of us and our children and grandchildren will have this benefit available and to penalize the conduct so will not happen as much in the feature. quite often, taking these
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criminals money hurts them more than going to jail for a couple of years. let's you were also involved in can you explain to the audience what your role was? >> it is ongoing. it is not passed 10 of. we are still interviewing doctors and marketers. our goal is to work hand-in-hand with the criminal division in parallel proceedings to bring different tools to bear and to share as much information as the lamb -- as we can. time of well as they entered judgment with us. we are now moving on to the next hospital and trying to negotiate with them as well. >> in terms of going forward,
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where is that going in terms of civil healthcare enforcement? >> on the civil side, we like to target people with the most money and money that we complete our hands on. it has changed over the years. now we are seeing in increase -- seeing an increase in the big pharmaceutical cases. they will often the marketing their products for non fda approved uses of this scene cases across the country coming in more frequently and that regard. another area that i expect to see a lot more cases in the area clinical trial fraud. the fda regulates clinical trials. they put forth a very specific articles frissell protocols -- protocols that they need to get
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fda approval. it is likely see with all the other fraud, the trend is moving in this area. it ranges from seven is not being done at all -- from studies not been done at all to putting the data. that could have somebody who is not trained for what they are supposed to be monitoring. it can be anything. i do expect you'll see lots of false claims cases. >> he talked about some of the pharmaceutical cases. there is something called off labeling. you are able to sue for fraudulent of labeling. can you explain what that involves? >> >> companies are not allowed to market their drugs for uses
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not approved by the fda. there is a twist there. doctors are permitted to prescribe medications for use that they believe are not a problem. the pharmaceutical companies cannot be going out. >> and in those cases you are able to sue? what statutes to use? >> we generally use the general false claims act which allows us to go after defendants for penalties. any time a false claim submitted a cause to be submitted to the government for payment. >> we are going to move to questions. before we do. in terms of people who are in the community, whether they are
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beneficiaries or are in the medical services industry, but how can they help? what should they be looking for? what can they identify? if they identify problems, what should they do? >> i guess i treated as my credit card. but parents recently turned 65. they watch every statement that comes in and make sure the service is rendered. that is something that you want to do. once a statement shows upcoming you want to review the statement. if there is any discrepancy, you know what? call the doctor out. say, this is correct. if there is no answer, there is a number you can call. say, i disagree with this statement. and do not think i receive these services. can you check into it. 1>> i think it is crucial that e
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use the medical community to help us. there the day -- and cannot say how important it is that they have the from going on. they are telling us what is going on at these companies. it is very important to call hotlines, a major complaint. those people who are in the position to know what is going on. they know what is proper and improper. >> what happened on the civil side? >> we get the large majority of our cases that are inside the institution.
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to us. the industry is in pcs and tingling on that feels something wrong. the federal agencies or to our office. if you feel like something is wrong, it probably is. >> do you have anything to add? >> i think the gatekeeper function is incredibly significant. if that people come forward and set provided this in the way they cannot appreciate the significance. will make it this real-time information from folks that are not part of law enforcement, he may not realize the full scope of what happens after you to that for the of in this incredibly valuable.
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it started with these tests. >> we have some time for questions. we have someone in the audience with a microphone. >> thank you. certainly, the association would like to see elimination of fraud and waste and abuse in the medicare system they found no
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problems of a bill six months later, they came back and ask for more. you have to sign a multiple disclosures. how do we do the enforcement action from being a decent? >> cinema, the people. generally, the people who are being targeted are not one or two minor claims. they are the result of substantial investigations. the want to add to that, you can do it. >> that is probably an internal
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function when they come in and ask for more of formation. the thing we are talking about how the criminal prosecutions. sometimes, we may get information from the state car contractors. by and large column there are not these new ones cases inkath i think this is an issue to their internal function. >> behalfadding anyone would be disgusted. they are just outrageous complex. >> i want to thank you for the work you do on behalf of the patients and honest doctors policing these egregious cases. i have a comment. you mentioned the need for
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physicians to protect their own identity and play a part. we certainly want to cooperate. we are as terrified as identity theft as anybody. you mentioned protecting our mpi numbers. we are fresher then that they have a web site in which everyone can actually look up our state license number, our office address, all the information that is needed in order to steal our identity. we were wondering if anybody had thought about ways we could help as team members to work together on this. >> i think that is an excellent point. it is -- you know, i think that most doctors take a lot of steps to protect their identity numbers by the policies that people better effort hitting medicare fraud. it points to a much broader
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social issues. it is much easier nowadays with it the social networking sites or otherwise to get people's personal information. my address is now basically available and obtain a zero passport fro they say that edit call from a beneficiary this and never went to see you. why is your name showing up? once that happens, we can really
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jump on these loans provok calle -- on these claims. >> those false claims been presented in your name, the payment should be coming to you. that is the address on file with medicare. make sure your boiler or processor let you know if you are seeing it check for something you did not bill for. that will alert us. >> i think we have time for one more question. i think the panel will also be available. >> i am the president elect the my question is totally simpleton the -- simple.
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we are in a ruthless world. we get in ninth. if they do not like your handwriting, and they deny it. it is torture to get paid. can medicare take a page from the insurance industry, if you see claims out in a were denied them. then say, come on. the insurance industry does a day today. it is just a suggestion. [laughter] >> wiry paying them? -- why are you paying them? 1[laughter] [applause] >> thank you very much. >> for those of us who are
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viewing, we will not taken into mission for a lunch. we will resume in a minute. for the rest of you, hang on one second well because the webcast. >> we are now going to break for a box lunch. it is available for $6, cash only. it is available just outside the theater. there are too small tends hall where they are available. -- tenths where they are available. i have some information about the afternoon. what we like to do there is another session for the providers to get together and interact some more. the also want to have the
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opportunity to have a very informal chat over lunch the provider groups and head over to the left to the cafe. we will meet your over there. we can just chat. the provider panelists should all be wearing name tag ends -- name tags with a red indicator. and we've all made over at the cafe. we went to reconvene. we will see you in just a little while. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010]
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>> our next panel is on consumer vigilance and communication. our moderator is the associate state director of advocacy for aarp california. if you will join me in welcoming her, please. [applause] >> thank you. good afternoon. it is my pleasure to moderate our panel on the importance of benefits. as peter mentioned, i am with aarp california. aarp endorsed the new health
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care legislation. a contain some of the strongest anti-fraud law passed. now that the new law is passed, aarp will work with the it lustration in the state attorney general to make sure that the fraud measures are an active with the full force of the law. this year is an election year. we will also work with our members on how to identify and report medicare fraud for the we will continue to do so. we will work to bring some new volunteers into this program. we believe that these steps will help to protect seniors from harm, strengthen medicare, and help to reduce the federal a deficit by lowering skyrocketing
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health-care costs. we have the and demonstration on region 9. we have special project director for california health advocates. and california's senior medicare patrol volunteer. david? >> thank you very much. aarp continued to provide great advocacy and education for older persons here in california and throughout the country out of like to commend general holder and centers of the earliest for holding the summit and for the leadership they have the mission.
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kathy asked if i send her appreciation for your participation today and in the days to come. alan like to -- a right to introduce a man with a traditional background in demonstrated experience in identifying and preventing health care fraud and abuse. welcome to the family. i did it again. they also have seen the fifth
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catcher. i live like to recognize to a bar local apartment did allied to recognize two of our local partners. -- and i would like to recognize two of our local partners. i would also like to it knowledge might channel panelist. we are so proud to have one of the top programs in the country here in california and california health advocates. they provide great leadership. they perform most effectively. >> i am pleased to be here to talk about the administration on aging's single senior medicare patrol program and how consumers, the beneficiaries, and seniors can help fight fraud. it is an important partner in our nation's from fighting arsenal. a combat medicare and medicaid fraud.
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educating and empowering health- care consumers. we are very proud of this program and how it prevents health care fraud from occurring in the first place. wheat believe that older americans and care givers we have gone a long way to stop we are very pleased that this program has been recognized at the highest levels of the the have recently announced plans to double the size of the the program announcement has already been released. applications are currently under review upon th
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it to expand the program to reach more than it is serious, and their families and care givers, with a message of fraud prevention with additional funding target it to high-fraud states like california uphe the senior medicare program was created by congress in the mid- 1990's as a demonstration project in just five cisterna since that time, they have banded to 54 projects. that includes ghulam, puerto rico, and the virgin islands. it is focusing on targeted outreach to hispanic seniors and
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their families across the country. state projects recruit and train retired volunteers on the basics of medicare. in particular, how to prevent and identify potential fraud and abuse. the educated and if this series and care givers to actively protect himself against fraudulent, wasteful, and in some health care practices by reviewing their medicare summary notices, protecting their medicare numbers and reporting discrepancies or instances of suspected fraud back to the s&p project for assistance.
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this national network of volunteers extend the capacity to reach older american. since 1997, a 68,000 volunteers have been trained to educate their peers and local communities. during that time, 2.9 million been 50 areas where educative. 18 million people were reached by community education and vince. close to 87,000 other complaints of potential health care fraud receive them from benefice serious. they were resolved by the further investigation. over $105.9 million in savings to medicare and if the series have been attributed to and if his theory complaints, referred
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by them to investigation and prosecution. our network across the country are the front-line against fraud. they see it all. abortion some common type of fraud that are out there include home health care -- and some common types of fraud out there include home health care, arthritis, offer for in villains try it, telemarketing, and door- to-door sales. the war has been pretty outrageous examples. in mississippi, and persian soda at a home address and scruggs, stating that the doctor ordered home health care for them. a scam artists targeted a low- income housing complex, offering
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residents 5 winner dollars for their medicare numbers. -- $500 for their medicare numbers. in north carolina, smp had complaints from beneficiaries who discovered that medicare was charged $85 for smoking counseling. the doctor simply ask, are you still smoking? criminals are intent on living off medicare, calling seniors to trick them into sharing their medicare number for the now they are capitalizing on the effort to understand the new health care reform law. seniors and individuals are especially vulnerable to these false pitches where the con
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artists claimed to be an insurance worker or government employee. they promised what ever it takes with the requirement of the new law. we see the potential impact on seniors. false claims and tinted their access to needed health care. not to mention the impact on individual self-esteem. every year, medicare, medicaid, and private insurance companies pay billions of dollars in fraudulent claims. time and time again, to cover these claims, we all pay what amounts to a health care fraud
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pass in the form of higher with all of these new initiatives at our disposal, he believed that it is really a new day for those of us who work to prevent health care fraud and protect consumers. that includes all of you here today at the second regional fraud prevention summit aqaba we all have. with all of us, law-enforcement volunteers inconnus remember this working together we can empower our seniors to protect themselves from fraud and abuse and with those criminals out of business from the fussy this so much for the opportunity to share some of misinformation about the role of the program from the national level. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you, david.
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>> thank you burda thank you for coming back from lunch. what we do is important. to have the opportunity to represent one of the amazing 54 projects today, it is truly an honor. i'm very thankful for that. as the one in the first product to be awarded, one thing i have learned in 13 years is that a beneficiary usually does want to do what is right. they just do not often know what that is. that is the role, to help them through that and figure it out. i want to study about what the program, what we do. to get any results. what is it? we are the boot on the ground program in communities in california to educate the
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benefit serious and their family and anyone who will listen. we can help them detect fraud. more importantly, what is not brought fidel sometimes what looks like a fraud to them is not fraud. we are a great clearing house. and we report what they find to us or to the proper agencies so that we can check into all of this. our objective is to our region to the diverse communities and educate the been of this series. there are over 4.5 million in california. we have three part-time people in santa ana. we need a lot of help. we are fortunate to have a lot of help. we work with the state department of aging.
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we also receive funds for the. in california, we have an amazing network of 26 programs. they train volunteers to do various problem solving. they have a very rigorous training program. it is not for the faint of heart. it did not -- it is not easy. we do this as they have a firm foundationd in medicare -- foundation in medicare. they go through this internship. they go out in these
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communities. they represent all the different communities of california. we have many different languages. they go out not only to the usual senior centers and faith based organizations, but they also go into things like farmers' markets or places where people gather. they talk to an them about this process. it is pretty amazing. inevitably, people come up to us and have a story to tell. they tell us the story. if we think we are onto something, we write it up. we are given special programs to work through. we put the information into smart facts. it goes to the integrity person. the league communication. it works fairly well in one
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instance, we were in a non- english speaking community. several people came up after the presentation and said, "i have a scooter that i am using at a plant stand." i want to return. they said medicare wantonly to have it. they are an amazing stat. they joined us. in a senior housing apartment. from that, and they got all kinds of information. the end result was 11 providers or suspended from the project. a special category was developed called "the cost avoidance" category. we encapsulate of money -- encapsulated money. if fraud have been allowed to go, how much we would have lost also. we wer


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